Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
27 OCTOBER 2009
Q220 Mr Watson: If I could take you
to page eight of the edition you have given us.
Councillor Loveday: I do not have
a copy of the paper.
Q221 Mr Watson: It is an advertisement
for Guta Ra Mwari's book who lectures us about his 12 lessons
and 52 chapters of God's work. It is some form of religious advertising.
If you have not got any guidelines, presumably you are happy with
Councillor Loveday: Yes, I did
see that earlier. I know nothing about this particular advertising.
Q222 Mr Watson: You have not got
a problem with religious advertising?
Councillor Loveday: I am sure
that there will be
Q223 Mr Watson: Would you take adverts
from the Church of Scientology?
Councillor Loveday: I do not think
that has ever arisen as an issue.
Q224 Mr Watson: Clearly newspapers
have to work out their guidelines on this. You have not got any
Councillor Loveday: I am not sure
they publish guidelines either of their advertising policies,
and, of course, do not forget, our local newspapers do accept
quite a lot of advertising for personal services, which I am sure
would not be appropriate for most.
Q225 Mr Watson: So you would not
take personal services but you would take religious advertising?
Councillor Loveday: One of the
people who works on the paper works as an advertising manager,
and I have no doubt that that would not be appropriate.
Q226 Mr Watson: Really, it is down
to the arbitrary decision of the person who takes the advertising;
is that right?
Councillor Loveday: Obviously,
the statutory code contains quite a lot of restrictions on various
Q227 Mr Watson: Can I take you to
the next page? There is a rather attractive deal for an XL pizza,
garlic bread and a can of drink for £11 from Perfect Pizza,
which, had it been in Westminster, I might have availed myself
Councillor Loveday: No doubt after
today you will get a special delivery!
Q228 Mr Watson: How much would that
piece of advertising cost?
Councillor Loveday: It is about
Q229 Mr Watson: How much does Hammersmith
and Fulham spend health promotion and healthy eating, would you
Councillor Loveday: As a local
authority or including the PCT?
Q230 Mr Watson: As a local authority.
Councillor Loveday: I cannot put
a figure on it, I am sorry.
Q231 Mr Watson: You would not see
a super carbohydrate, calorific feast like that as being in conflict
with some other policies that other sections of the council might
Councillor Loveday: I am not aware
that we have had any complaints about that at all, Mr Watson.
Q232 Mr Watson: Gerald, I see you
have Councillor Mike Hancock as one of the three councillors here.
He is also an MP, is he not?
Councillor Vernon-Jackson: He
Q233 Mr Watson: Has he ever purchased
advertising news in his communications budget in this publication?
Councillor Vernon-Jackson: No.
It would not be appropriate. We do not go out for private adverts;
we will work with our partners in the PCT, the police, the fire
services, colleges, et cetera, but that is it.
Q234 Mr Watson: Do you ever give
equal prominence to Portsmouth's other MP?
Councillor Vernon-Jackson: If
she was a councillor and she was appearing in her role as councillor,
then she would get exactly the same treatment as any other councillor.
Q235 Mr Watson: You do not see this
as some kind of political conflict of interest?
Councillor Vernon-Jackson: No.
We only have two Labour councillors left in Portsmouth now and,
as you can see there, they get an undue prominence because they
are treated as equal with everybody else.
Q236 Mr Watson: I cannot quite remember
my stats but is it fair to say that the constituency represented
by Councillor Mike Hancock in his role as a Member of Parliament
would be seen as a Liberal Democrat marginal seat?
Councillor Vernon-Jackson: No;
a Lib Dem safe seat would be a correct assumption.
Q237 Mr Watson: I am sure Mr Loveday
might have a different view on that.
Councillor Vernon-Jackson: As
Conservative councillors keep defecting to us and not delivering
leaflets in most of the patch, I think the Conservative Party
is in turmoil there and we have not had Labour councillors for
Q238 Mr Watson: Mr Loveday, I must
apologise for giving the Liberal Democrat propagandist an unfair
Councillor Loveday: Mr Watson,
can I just mention one point? The political constraints, which
are perfectly proper, do result in some very odd consequences.
I will give you an example. I think we have already referred to
it. It is in our newspaper at page 2. One can see there that a
by-election took place. One can see the result of the by-election.
The position that was taken by the editorial staff was that to
go any further than simply reporting the bare numbers and the
statutory declaration there would probably have gone beyond party
political constraints. It is a very odd concept.
Q239 Mr Watson: I think Mr Davies
has probably covered this but, as you have tempted me, if you
were arrested by the police for having a horse's head in your
bed, do you think it might make the front page of the H&F
Councillor Loveday: I am a lawyer.
I would prefer to think of myself as Tom Hagen rather than the
gentleman in the bed.